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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,872 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Chevrolet Malibu drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Chevrolet Malibu Owner Comments

problem #10

Nov 012014


  • 0 miles


The ignition key cylinder will not allow my key to go to a vertical position when turning my car to the off position. The car would be stationary and in the park position, as a result, the car stays on and my battery gets drained and I need a jump all the time. I started detaching the battery when I go in and out of stores and overnight when sleeping and reconnecting when I go to a new destination. I reported this to the Chevrolet dealership and they gave me a key, telling me the problem was the size of the hole my key ring had. Needles to say the problem still exists. I had not driven it since may of 2015. Now that the weather is getting colder, I don't want to keep going on with this hastle. I am not financially able to rectify this situation out of pocket, yet, there has been a recall on the ignition switches. You would not want to be in my shoes. I pray I will be able to go to a Chevrolet dealership to fix or replace a switch for me. If not, god will bless me for I am not at fault for this faulty ignition switch. I spoke with T Chevrolet dealership this morning and the only thing they could do was put my vehicle identification number in and file a complaint. The complaint number is 8-1656466940.

- Waukegan, IL, USA

problem #9

Sep 302015


  • 214,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. While driving approximately 60 mph, the vehicle failed to accelerate and the check engine warning light illuminated intermittently. In addition, after stopping the vehicle, it stalled. The vehicle was restarted. The contact mentioned that the failure occurred after the vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V400000 (electrical system) and 04V528000 (vehicle speed control). The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that cylinder two was misfiring. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 214,000.

- Twin Valley, MN, USA

problem #8

Jun 182015


  • 130,000 miles
Computer problem 2003 Chevy Impala 6 cyl front wheel drive automatic 130000 miles this recently started, the traction on light and the ABS yellow lights on dash stay on. Rarely do they go off, only a few times. The square indicator light says "service traction control" light comes on when I start the vehicle, stays on for 1-2 minutes then goes off. But the traction control light and the ABS light remains on. How can I reset this or what to not have a trip to the expensive auto repair shop. I have no problem with the ABS brakes to operate correctly, no delays or brake hesitation when I press the brake pedal in use. Help me out with a good solution. I will greatly appreciate your response.

- New Windsor, NY, USA

problem #7

Jan 312013


  • 22,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the vehicle would only start when in neutral. In addition, the key was able to eject from the ignition while the vehicle was in operation. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who was unable to diagnose the failure. No repairs were made to the vehicle. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 22,000.

- Frederiksted, VI, USA

problem #6

Dec 122014


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that the shift lever failed to shift into park leaving the vehicle in the accessory mode, which would drain the battery. The failure recurred on several occasions. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the shifter linkage failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V224000 (power train). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 140,000.

- Surprise, AZ, USA

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problem #5

Aug 012013


  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The contact stated that during warmer temperatures, the throttle became stuck and there was a sudden increase of up to 150 engine rpms. The contact had to immediately engage the brakes and shift into neutral in order to stop the vehicle. The dealer was not made aware of the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offered any assistance since the vehicle was not included in recall NHTSA campaign number: 04V528000 (vehicle speed control). The failure mileage was 48,000.

- Oconomowoc, WI, USA

problem #4

Jun 112007

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 59,000 miles


I have had several issues with my car over the years. The first was when the fuel pump failed and my car stalled in traffic in 2006 and repair was $600. The intake manifold gaskets failed about 10 months later that was repaired at the dealer for $1200. I have replaced the engine twice ($600 each time) because of the head gaskets and too much oil inside the engine. Now I have a strong odor of gasoline inside my car when I start it up that lasts for about 15-20 minutes each day. I've replaced the ignition switch twice now and the gear shift does not lock properly. Now anti theft security light comes on often and I have to wait approximately 11 minutes to reset it before I can leave my location. The hood latch recently broke and now the wire must be replaced from the inside to the exterior of the car.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #3

Dec 232013


  • 125,000 miles
I parked the car in the driveway which is sloped downwards, and thought I put the car in park and turned the ignition off and took out the keys. After I got out of the car, it started rolling forward into the garage door. I quickly jumped into the seat and slammed on the brake. Thank G-D, no real damage was done, but I am pregnant and got really shocked. I realized the extent of this safety issue which I previously disregarded. The issue is that the keys can come out of the ignition while it is in the on position. Therefore if I forget to put the car in park and take the keys out they come out. Most cars have a safety feature which prevents removing the keys until the ignition is off, which cannot be done unless the car is in park. In my car however this is not the case as the keys come out in the on position and I am therefore lacking the feature to remind me to put the car in park. This can G-D forbid cause a terrible accident. I subsequently checked my brother in law's car which is also an 03 Malibu and it has the same problem.

- Flushing, NY, USA

problem #2

Sep 192008

Malibu 6-cyl

  • 40,719 miles
Accelerator will stick and would not return to idle position when I took my foot off the accelerator pedal continuing to speed at 50 mph. Dealer replaced the throttle cable told me it was damaged somehow. On 6/25/09 accelerator began sticking again. Dealer replaced the accelerator and brake pedal assembly which they had failed to do the first repair. All repairs done at my expense at a total cost of $283.82 not including rental car cost.

- Biloxi, MS, USA

problem #1

Jan 012011


  • 50,000 miles
The car is a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu. The car was purchased used and therefore the events leading up the failure are not known. The problem that the car has is that the rpms increase dramatically while driving. This makes the car difficult to stop and extreme pressure must be applied to the brakes to stop and keep the car stopped. When the vehicle is stopped and the problem is occurring, the engine can be heard making louder than usual noises. When the rpms increase, the speed of the car increases without the gas pedal being pressed. It is very difficult to keep the car moving at a reasonable speed because of this. At the present time, the check engine light is on, but the activation of the check engine light does not usually occur at the same time as the problem described above. The problem occurs at an of four times a week and occurs more often when the car is driven on back roads instead of highways.

- Ellicott City, MD, USA

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